Grand jury probes for police corruption in Eastern District Caught stealing, officer to cooperate

October 18, 1991|By Roger Twigg ... ..

An Eastern District police officer, caught stealing money from an undercover state policeman posing as a drug dealer, is cooperating with a grand jury investigating possible wider corruption in the district, according to city and state police sources.

Sources said the uniformed officer, who has been assigned to the Police Department's Eastern District for about a year, was confronted last Friday after he took about $350 from the undercover trooper.

The officer, who has not been charged in the case, has agreed to cooperate in a grand jury probe that could implicate other officers, sources said.

In an unrelated case, two other uniformed officers in the Eastern District have been charged with taking an undetermined amount of money Monday from men playing craps, according to police spokesman Dennis S. Hill.

The undercover operation began recently after city Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods wrote to state police asking for help investigating allegations that a number of Eastern District officers were stealing from known drug dealers.

State police were asked to provide undercover investigators who would not be easily identified by officers in the district.

Last Friday, a trooper posing as a drug dealer and carrying $2,000 in marked money was assigned to wander known drug areas in the Barclay Street corridor. The money was stuffed in his pants pockets and socks.

During the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, an Eastern District officer stopped the undercover trooper and shook him down, removing all the cash. The officer then returned all but about $350, sources said.

When the officer concluded his shift, internal investigators were waiting with warrants to search him, his locker and car. The marked money was found in his bulletproof vest, sources said.

State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms declined to comment on the matter, saying, "It has been my policy not to confirm or deny" matters under investigation. Mr. Hill also declined to comment on the matter.

In the craps case, sources said two officers working the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift Monday came across some men gambling and took money from them.

One of the men involved in the craps game complained to the department's Internal Investigation Division. Warrants were obtained and the officers were searched at the station house, but investigators did not find money equal to what was allegedly stolen from the craps game.

The officers' identities could not be learned last night.

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